Celebrations in St Andrews for International Happiness Day

Johnathan Reeves (left) and Matthhew Webb of Zest prepare some coffee.
Johnathan Reeves (left) and Matthhew Webb of Zest prepare some coffee.

Staff at the pioneering St Andrews cafe Zest hope to put a smile on their customers’ faces this Sunday in celebration of International Happiness Day.

They’ll be promoting a series of sessions run under the umbrella of the charity Action for Happiness that represent a first for the east of Scotland.

The sessions are all part of the charity’s ‘Exploring What Matters’ course and will be led by volunteers Ali Millican and Johnathan Reeves, a trainer at Zest.

As its name suggests, the course aims to give participants a happier outlook on life.

It comprises eight weekly two-hour sessions focusing on such issues as successful relationships, what’s important in life, and treating others with respect.

“We do ask for a donation to cover venue costs but Ali and I are volunteers,” explained Johnathan.

“We need a minimum of eight people in order for the course to go ahead and we hope to attract people of all ages and from all walks of life.

“The courses are held all over the UK but this will be one of the first in Scotland and certainly the first in the east of the country.

“Since this Sunday marks International Happiness Day, we’ll be attaching leaflets about the courses to the menus in Zest in the hope of encouraging people to sign up.”

Founded in 2010, Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society, and its patron is the Dalai Lama.

The charity’s goals are to create a fundamentally different way of life, in which people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.

Members of the movement make a simple pledge: to try to create more happiness in the world around them. Course facilitators like Ali and Johnathan provide ideas and resources to enable people to take action at home, at work or in their community, and many form local groups to take action together.

March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a ‘fundamental human goal’ and called for ‘a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples’.

In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on March 20. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

For more information about the courses, go to www.actionforhappiness.org or visit Zest on Sunday!